Elected to the Watsonville City Council in 2012, Karina Cervantez Alejo is only the second Latina in the City’s history to serve on the Council. In 2014, she served as Mayor.
In 2014, Cervantez Alejo led the City Council’s effort to put Measure G, a public safety measure to increase the City’s revenue to hire more police, fire, and increase emergency response services, on the November ballot. Measure G passed with 67% of the vote.
Previously, Cervantez Alejo worked with the Community Action Board’s Youth Community Restoration Project (YCORP), where she assisted directly with youth transitioning from juvenile hall back into the community. She also helped develop youth leadership and mentorship programs, including Girlzpace, an after-school program working with young women in the City of Watsonville.
Before serving on the Watsonville City Council, Cervantez Alejo served on the Watsonville Planning Commission, the Watsonville Parks and Recreation Commission, the Santa Cruz County Democratic Central Committee, the Santa Cruz County Girls Task Force, and as the co-chair of the Santa Cruz County Immigration Action Group. Previously, she was appointed as a statewide at-large delegate for President Barack Obama to the 2012 Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina.
Currently, Cervantez Alejo sits on various City and County committees in her capacity as an elected leader, including: Board of Directors of Santa Cruz METRO Transit District; Santa Cruz County Regional Transportation Commission; City- County-Schools Intergovernmental Committee; and the League of Cities Board of Directors where she represents the 18 cities in the Monterey Bay Division. In 2014, Governor Jerry Brown also appointed her to the Central Coast Water Quality Board, whose jurisdiction cover 9 counties.
Cervantez Alejo is a graduate of Porterville High School and is the daughter of farmworkers who continue to work in the agricultural fields of the Central Valley. She received her Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) degree and her master of science (M.S.) degree in psychology from UC Santa Cruz. She is currently a college educator at California State University Monterey Bay, previously was an educator at Cabrillo College, and is finalizing her doctorate degree at UC Santa Cruz.